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From Harvard Square, With Love

By Sophie M. Alexander, Contributing Writer

In Harvard Square, Valentine’s Day celebrations will last all month long.

The Harvard Square Business Association has commissioned a 28-video series called “With Love from Harvard Square.”

The clips feature residents and store owners discussing love and its place in the Square.

“Who knew that people propose at Bartley’s? Who knew that the staff of Adidas has the lyrics to a Bert Bacharach song in their heads?” Lesley Bannatyne, a local writer who reads poetry in one of the videos, wrote in an e-mail.

The Association uploads one of the new videos—which range from around one to seven minutes in length—onto its Web site via YouTube every day of February.

“Because they focus on love, the movies showcase a side of the Square that’s more personal, more in the background (or invisible) during the ordinary work week,” Bannatyne wrote.

Subjects include Cambridge Mayor Kenneth E. Reeves ’72, the Fallen Angels (a Harvard a cappella group), and the famous Grolier Poetry Book Shop.

One video focuses solely on fortune cookies at The Kong. Another asks people on the street for their opinions on love, eliciting responses that range from tales of personal romance to a declaration, “[Love] sucks...women will get you in trouble every time. Daddy one time told me, he said women are the root of all evil.”

Robin Lapidus, the Association’s marketing and events director, explains that the campaign lasts all month because “the restaurants are always so busy on Valentine’s Day, they don’t necessarily want another event in the Square,”

“We wanted something that was centered on a theme but also embraced more people,” he said.

Mark Ostow, who did the videography for the project, emphasized the importance of promoting local business.

“Often when people think back about the Square, they only think of chains, like Uno’s,” Ostow said. “There is a lot more independent business there than meets the eye. This helps celebrate that.”

“What I like is that it’s 28 angles on Havard Square,” Lapidus said. “There isn’t just one view that explains its meaning or its significance. It’s been really nice to have the long lens perspective.”

The Assocation’s Executive Director, Denise A. Jillson, said that the goal was to showcase the Square’s diversity in residents and in businesses: “the funky, the famous, and the infamous.”

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